Tuesday, March 31, 2009

50,000 Spartan Fans? Could Be Wrong

Jim Calhoun has been known to exaggerate – especially if it winds up somehow helping his team.

On Monday, when asked about Michigan State’s possible homecourt advantage on Saturday playing at 72,000-seat Ford Field, only about 90 miles from campus, Calhoun said: “Clearly, when you talk about 72,000, I’m sure there will be 50 or 60,000 Michigan State fans there, as well there would be (for UConn) if we were playing up here.”

In truth, there will be nowhere near 50-60,000 Spartan fans at Ford Field on Saturday.

Each of the Final Four schools (UConn, Michigan State, North Carolina and Villanova) have been allotted 3,750 tickets to disperse. After that, virtually all the rest of the tickets are spoken for – from tickets distributed to the host committee, the National Association of Basketball Coaches, CBS Sports, Division 1 athletic directors, the NCAA, and to the general public.

More than 20,000 tickets were allocated to the general public in a lottery drawing done nearly a year ago. According to Cameron Schuh, the NCAA’s associate director for public and media relations, nearly one in seven attendees at the Final Four will be from the Detroit or Michigan area. Even if nearly all of them were Michigan State fans, added to the 3,750 tickets dispersed to the school, that would only account for about 7,000 fans.

I'm sure some Spartan fans from nearby will find ways to score some ducats. But the idea that there will be 50-60,000 of them strong? I'd be shocked if it approached 10,000.

“I’m sure there will be a green tint (to the crowd),” said Schuh, “but by no means will it be this outweighing of Michigan State support.”

But then, Calhoun has never let the facts get in the way of a good motivational story for his team. He's going into Saturday's Final Four game feeling like a road team, and the Huskies went 9-1 on the road this season and are 8-1 at neutral sites.

According to Schuh, here’s a breakdown of how the 72,000 tickets for the event have been allocated:

General public – 28%

Teams – 23%

Host committee – 10%

NABC – 6%

CBS/Corporate family – 5%

Division I athletics directors – 7%

NCAA – 21% (The NCAA block isn’t limited to staff only – it’s more like a catch-all to account for any other groups that the NCAA provides tickets to: vendors, licensees, constituent organizations, governance committees, etc.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

rumors abound that Y! Investigative Team (I use term lightly) has part 2 of their findings due any moment now. Timing continues to be amazing w/. a Team trying to become NC. How are you and the rest of the Horde not on this? or in the dark like the rest of us?

1:07 PM 
Blogger David Borges said...

I have heard that more is coming out imminently, as well. While I give Yahoo credit for their investigative work, their timing is an obvious attempt to extract as much publicity out of this as possible (and, it seems, to hurt UConn as much as possible. There is no love lost between at least one of these writers and the UConn program).

Unfortunately, it would be impossible for me or any other UConn beat writer to get all the information Yahoo has in this short amount of time. We are, unfortunately, at the whim of their announcements, as a result of their 6-month investigation and their findings through FOI, etc.

1:32 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks David - I appreciate your insight/thoughts. The timing is almost transparent and rather surprised no one has called that out publicaly. The talk now is centered on round 2 having a lot to do w/. Majok. I would hate to think of that since I love this kid on/off court, but ques I will remain in wait/see mode.

The fact that one of these writers might also have a personal agenda is also rather annoying. Already several of the original claims were quickly corrected and/or played down. It is amazing the shots some will take.

1:43 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From Yahoo story on Calipari:
"Calipari is no worse than most of the game’s top coaches. No better either. Does he take kids of questionable character? Of course, how many don’t? Does he use his friendship with William Wesley to land star recruits? Yes, and he doesn’t apologize for it."

But yet they'll do a six month report on one program with some far fetched connections in the story and its supposed to be a groundbreaking report? Seriously, how do just accept that bad stuff happens, but then throw a team under the bus?

2:52 PM 

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